As many of you already know, I am extremely invested in my career. I spend a considerable amount of time on LinkedIn, and I have noticed that it can get a bit “crowded” – for lack of a better word. Some of the content I come across is not relevant to me, and some instances – should not be on LinkedIn. There are various social media platforms, and each of them serve its own purpose. Truth is, I don’t want to read about your dog on LinkedIn. As savage as this may sound, I believe that LinkedIn should be used appropriately.
LinkedIn is a platform where professionals, recruiters and business owners connect and form networks. More often that not, people tend to form their first impression of you based on the results of a web search on your name. These are the times we live in. What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? How do you conduct yourself on LinkedIn? Most importantly, does your profile project a professional image? I shared a similar post a while back, and you can view it here.
It’s no secret that LinkedIn has revolutionised the manner in which we present ourselves online. Rebecca Skilbeck, Head of Customer Insights and Market Research at PageUp, whose expertise lie in business intelligence and thought leadership, shares the following tips on how you can grow your network:
- Professionalism is paramount
While LinkedIn has the look and feel of other social media platforms, it’s business first. Always remember to approach others on this network with professionalism and respect. It goes without saying that if it’s work-related, being polite and representing yourself in a professional way is key. That goes for all content posted and shared, as well as your responses, comments and engagements within your network on LinkedIn.
- Consider your ask
LinkedIn might not be face-to-face, but you should still approach your online networking with the respect you would bring to an in-person interaction. If you were meeting a hiring manager or prospective employer in real life, you wouldn’t ask for a job in your first conversation. You also wouldn’t ask someone to go out of their way for you if you hadn’t built a rapport or relationship with them. Approaching a new connection and introducing yourself politely is the cornerstone of online and offline networking.
- Be the real you
Employers are always looking for skilled and experienced talent, but they’re also after someone who adds to the culture of the company. Employers want to see the real you and get a feel for your personality to judge whether you’ll be a good addition to their organisation. There is great value in keeping your LinkedIn interactions authentic, and letting the real you shine bright. This helps HR professionals see your unique attributes, and it also helps you find a workplace that matches your values and ways of working.
Taking the time to write a tailor-made “about me” section or sharing content that is meaningful to you is a great way to show your LinkedIn network who you really are.
- Follow up
The job hunt is a journey and requires an ongoing investment of your time. So often we focus on having the best CV and interview, but we put less effort into following up and learning why we are or are not the right fit for an interview or job. If you’ve been engaging with an HR lead over LinkedIn, following up with them on the platform first is a good place to start. Even though you weren’t successful for this role, take the opportunity and continue to build the relationship. Maintaining a positive and professional approach increases the likelihood of being considered for future roles.
Be considerate when it comes to following up – both in terms of the type of feedback you’re requesting and the amount of the recruiter’s time you’re after. If you don’t receive the depth of feedback you’d like, take what you’ve learnt and move on. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t spam a person’s inbox with follow ups requesting more and more information than you’ve already been provided. Remember to always be gracious and say “Thank you” even when you don’t agree with the feedback.
- Take it offline
While LinkedIn is a key tool for networking, it’s also important to take connections offline. The real value is in transferring the connection you’ve built from LinkedIn to real life. If you are following up, suggest a catch up over coffee, or a phone call. Your new connection will value the effort you are putting in and appreciate the chance to get to know the real you. Be respectful of people’s time and expertise and show your gratitude for their time – buy the coffee, send a follow-up thank you, and don’t ask them to consult or share proprietary information for free.
Building and maintaining valuable connections on LinkedIn is a great way to kick-start your career. To make the most of the opportunities the platform offers, devote a bit of time and effort into putting the best version of yourself forward. You’ll reap the benefits of strong professional connections and gain a leg up on the competition.
I am currently enjoying a free trial of LinkedIn Premium. I am thoroughly enjoying the perks and insights that come with this package. I am not sure that I will be upgrading my package as yet. As mentioned in my previous post, there are costs associated with this type of subscription, you may want to take that into consideration when upgrading. LinkedIn has premium plans in place for users who want to opt for this option. There are certain advanced features available to Premium subscribers only, which makes this option more appealing.
In closing, don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn’s mobile app. The app is available for free on both iOS and Android, and is quite user-friendly.
Until next time, love and light.
Source: Forbes.com (contribution by Rebecca Skilbeck)